I try not to get too hyped up about days on the calendar that are supposed to be special. Valentine's Day falls into that category. It's not that I don't believe in Valentine's Day. I do.
I've always liked celebrating Valentine's Day because it offers us a chance to tell people how special they are to us and I don't mean just spouses or Sweethearts.
Whether it's a favorite friend, relative or colleague, we can use the day to show affection.
Remember when we were kids in school and we felt so good when we got bunches of Valentines from our classmates? Of course, they came in big packs and most kids gave one to everyone in the room. We knew that, but we still were happy to open all those sweet or funny messages from classmates.
Well, I still use the day to tell special people how much they mean to me.
This year I called a favorite friend and offered to take her to her church because she seldom gets the opportunity to go.
"Oh, shouldn't you be spending the day with your special Valentine?" she asked.
I told her she was one of my special Valentines and Dave and I would love to spend the morning with her. I think it was rewarding for all three of us.
In church, it was hard for me to concentrate on the prayers because all I could say to God was "Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for life and for all the blessings in it, including my husband by my side and my friend on my other side."
When we came out of church, my friend asked if I noticed how everyone seemed to be smiling at each other.
How can we not smile when we understand and appreciate the richness of everyday life?
My only reservation about calling Valentine's Day and other holidays "special" is that we overlook one fact: Every day of life is special.
Every minute of life is special.
I found myself thinking that thought so many times on Valentine's Day.
After church Dave and I went with friends to a Valentine's dinner and dance. As we were waltzing together I looked at my husband and wished I could hold onto that moment in time because it was so special.
But later that night as we were relaxing while watching the Olympics together, I had the same thought: This moment, being here together, is so special.
Yes, every moment in life is special. I've always believed that but the older I grow, the more I recognize the gift of a so-called ordinary day.
There is no such thing as an ordinary day, of course.
From the time we open our eyes in the morning, we have an opportunity to experience life. Too often we overlook the gift we are given with each "ordinary day."
I think that's what Thorton Wilder was trying to tell us when he wrote the play, "Our Town" about everyday life in a small town.
Wilder questioned whether we truly appreciate the preciousness of everyday life. By creating dramatic scenes out of simple acts such as eating breakfast or going to choir practice, the great playwright showed the significance he places in what most people would call mundane events.
The unforgettable part of the play is Act III when the Dead Souls see the preciousness of every single event in life and they wonder why they didn't see it when they were alive.
In 1938, Our Town won the Pulitzer Prize for drama and it's still a popular play for today's audiences.
I think it's interesting that in 1947 the Soviet Union banned Our Town because it glorified family life.
I wish the play could be performed more often simply because it does glorify everyday family life. Now, more than ever, we need to be cognizant of the fact that it is special to be able to do routine things with one's family.
Cooking a meal, sharing a meal and conversation together – that's priceless. As Master Card would say, we can't put a price on those moments.
But too often we fail to notice that so-called mundane everyday activities are golden moments out of time. They are ours to relish and enjoy for the moment only.
It is up to each of us not to let these golden moments slip by without recognizing what a gift we are given to have them.
If you gave a loved one a Valentine because it was "Valentine's day," why not do it for no occasion at all?
Why not find a reason to celebrate an ordinary day?
I think that's far more important than observing a day on the calendar.
If someone is there when you walk in the house and say, "I'm home," celebrate the richness of that moment.
At the very least, acknowledge the moment in your heart.
After I listened to someone complain about "having to go to work," I asked if she knew how lucky she was to have a job to go to. She said she didn't think about it like that.
We eat breakfast. We go to work. We shop for food. We interact with friends and family.
Moment after moment, we live everyday life.
And sometimes, when we get really old or really smart, we stop simply living everyday life.
Instead, we learn to celebrate it for the gift that it is.